Something that happened on Facebook yesterday made us long for a time when crusty old bigots didn’t know how to use the Internet and were wary of its mysterious white-magical powers.
It made us almost nostalgic for when their idea of activism was a pitiful rain dance at the Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras’ starting line.
It made us pine for the moment before the Reverend Fred Nile discovered the hashtag.
Because yesterday, on AFL Grand Final day, this popped up on Facebook.
For the blissfully unaware , the Reverend Fred Nile is a Member of the NSW Legislative Council, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, and a man who, for many decades, has never been anything other than upfront about his beliefs – homosexuality is Wrong, abortion is Wrong and all religions other than his are Wrong.
He is an extremist. And he has been a significant figure with a hefty amount of influence in the NSW Parliament for 33 long years.
Yesterday’s provocative post, tagged to pop up in the feed of anyone following the nation’s biggest sporting event, is offensive on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to start.
There’s the number, which is in the ballpark of many national estimates of the numbers of terminations, but given the complex reporting procedures between of different states, is not qualified as the guess that it undoubtedly is.
There’s the language. Clearly designed to shock and inflame. Ninety-thousand “babies” did not “go missing” in the past year. Perhaps as many as 90,000 medical procedures to terminate pregnancies were carried out.
So, if we’re going with that number, that’s 90,000 stories. Ninety-thousand women’s serious, difficult decisions, made for 90,000 different reasons.
Would Fred and his friends like to address the social impact of 90,000 more unwanted children in the country, born to parents who are ill-prepared to care for them?
And how, exactly, do the CDP plan to “change this”?
In a week when some downright inexplicable legislation is before the Senate around abortion, the CDP must sense that there’s something in the air, and that perhaps, in this climate, with this Government and this Senate, they might get some traction with their insulting and simplistic assault on a woman’s right to choose.
Please put your #teamnile hashtag back in your pocket, Reverend. Pushing this divisive nonsense into our media feeds is not smart and it’s not clever.